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This week's football highlights
Discovery Canyon (4-0) at TCA (4-0), 7 p.m. Friday
Yes, it’s still September and it’s a nonleague contest, but this is biggest game in school history for Discovery Canyon and the biggest for TCA in years. The Thunder, 7-13 in their first two varsity seasons, can clinch their first non-losing season. They’ve done it despite a rash of injuries in the backfield and have four players — Adrian Mack, Cameron Packwood, Steve Turner and Alex Weber — with between 200 and 250 rushing yards. TCA has a longer and more successful history, having won eight games in both 2008 and 2009, but a matchup of this magnitude might replicate a playoff atmosphere and help prepare the program for its elusive first postseason victory.
Fountain-Fort Carson (4-0) at Valor Christian (2-2), 7 p.m. Friday
Valor Christian lost its Zero Week opener 14-13 to traditional power Mullen, then fell 21-20 to one of the top-ranked teams in Utah. Since that point they’ve played more like the squad that has earned a reputation as private school enemy No. 1 in the state, outscoring Heritage and Legend by a combined 93-0. Fountain-Fort Carson’s victory over Pine Creek has lost a bit of its shine as the Eagles have fallen to 0-4, but the Trojans also topped defending 5A champion Columbine and could bag its biggest victim yet in this matchup that will be televised live on Altitude. … One fun stat here: Anthony Davis, who missed the start of 2011 with a collarbone injury, has 1,337 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns in his past 10 games.
Ponderosa (4-0) at Vista Ridge (4-0), 7 p.m.
Don’t try to figure the geography out on this one — it doesn’t make any sense. Either way, this is a huge Pikes Peak Conference showdown. Vista Ridge befuddled Pine Creek last week, as Brayden Stewart threw for 221 yards and Brandon Cartagena rushed for 123 and added 61 in the passing game. With Falcon also cruising through the league, the margin for error is extremely small for teams with league title aspirations.
Manitou Springs (4-0) at Florence (3-1), 7 p.m. Friday
The tests for Manitou Springs have grown progressively tougher, but the results have remained the same under first-year coach Danny Gieck. It doesn’t get much tougher than playing the defending state champs on their home field. … One more fun stat: Counting the first five quarters from 2011, Manitou Springs has outscored opponents 185-35 with a healthy quarterback Chad Sienknecht. In games without Sienknecht (who missed the final eight games last season) the Mustangs have been outscored 292-113.
Liberty (3-1) vs. Pine Creek (0-4), 7 p.m. Friday at District 20 Stadium
As ugly as the record looks, there hasn’t been a game on Pine Creek’s schedule that most good teams would have won. Still, the impact of those losses and some injuries coming out of the Vista Ridge defeat have the Eagles looking vulnerable to the rest of the pack. Liberty hasn’t defeated its district rival since 2004 and hasn’t played them within five touchdowns since 2007. Suddenly, those stats seem irrelevant.